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Punch Song (To be sung in the Northern Countries)

Friedrich Schiller 1759 (Marbach am Neckar) – 1805 (Weimar)

On the mountain's breezy summit,
 Where the southern sunbeams shine,
Aided by their warming vigor,
 Nature yields the golden wine.

How the wondrous mother formeth,
 None have ever read aright;
Hid forever is her working,
 And inscrutable her might.

Sparkling as a son of Phoebus,
 As the fiery source of light,
From the vat it bubbling springeth,
 Purple, and as crystal bright;

And rejoiceth all the senses,
 And in every sorrowing breast
Poureth hope's refreshing balsam,
 And on life bestows new zest.

But their slanting rays all feebly
 On our zone the sunbeams shoot;
They can only tinge the foliage,
 But they ripen ne'er the fruit.

Yet the north insists on living,
 And what lives will merry be;
So, although the grape is wanting,
 We invent wine cleverly.

Pale the drink we now are offering
 On the household altar here;
But what living Nature maketh,
 Sparkling is and ever clear.

Let us from the brimming goblet,
 Drain the troubled flood with mirth;
Art is but a gift of heaven,
 Borrowed from the glow of earth.

Even strength's dominions boundless
 'Neath her rule obedient lie;
From the old the new she fashions
 With creative energy.

She the elements' close union
 Severs with her sovereign nod;
With the flame upon the altar,
 Emulates the great sun-god.

For the distant, happy islands
 Now the vessel sallies forth,
And the southern fruits, all-golden,
 Pours upon the eager north.

As a type, then,--as an image,
 Be to us this fiery juice,
Of the wonders that frail mortals
 Can with steadfast will produce!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Friedrich Schiller

Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was a German poet philosopher historian and playwright During the last seventeen years of his life Schiller struck up a productive if complicated friendship with already famous and influential Johann Wolfgang Goethe with whom he frequently discussed issues concerning aesthetics and encouraged Goethe to finish works he left merely as sketches this relationship and these discussions led to a period now referred to as Weimar Classicism They also worked together on Die Xenien The Xenies a collection of short but harshly satirical poems in which both Schiller and Goethe verbally attacked those persons they perceived to be enemies of their aesthetic agenda. more…

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